Formed in 1986 in Anaheim, California, United States as a ska punk band inspired by Madness, the lineup of No Doubt initially comprised John Spence as lead vocal, Gwen Stefani on back-up vocals, and her brother Eric Stefani on keyboards. While playing the party-band circuit around Anaheim, the trio picked up bassist Tony Kanal. Hardened by the suicide of Spence in December 1987, No Doubt nevertheless continued; Gwen became the lone vocalist and the group added guitarist Tom Dumont and drummer Adrian Young. During their early years on the party scene, they played with Sublime, and Brad Nowell sang on No Doubt's Total Hate 95. Gwen Stefani returned the favour on Saw Red.
No Doubt's live act began to attract regional interest, and Interscope Records signed them in 1991. The band's debut a year later, an odd fusion of '80s and ska, sank without a trace in the wake of the grunge movement. As a result, Interscope refused to support No Doubt's tour or further recordings. The band responded by recording on their own during 1993-94; the result was the self-released The Beacon Street Collection, much rawer and more punk-inspired than the debut. Eric Stefani left just after its release, later working as an animator for The Simpsons. By late 1994, Interscope allowed recordings to resume, and Tragic Kingdom was released in October 1995. The album's third single, Don't Speak, which although originally written by Eric was later altered by Gwen to document her breakup with bassist Tony Kanal. Tragic Kingdom went platinum and has sold over 15 million copies to date. As Tragic Kingdom obtained success, the band toured furiously until late '97.
After a long break, the band had prepared a more mellow, and powerfully dramatic album entitled Return of Saturn. It emphasized Gwen's encounters with men, her biological clock, and miscellaneous topics. Although the album had a completely different approach to it, the band was making rock music with less of a punk/ska flare. The album debuted at #2 on the Billboard charts in early April of 2000, and then declined to a flop. The public never did justice to the album, and it serves as a favorite for many die-hard fans.
While touring in Jamaica for Return of Saturn, the band wanted to try adding Reggae to their music, and making more of a dance rock record. 20 months after Return of Saturn debuted, the band was quick to jump on the creation of Rock Steady, released in December of '01. The singles Underneath It All and Hey Baby became international dance club symbols as top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. This album proved that No Doubt had not lost their potential with the public, and that they could appeal to various groups of people.
In 2004, No Doubt announced they would be going on hiatus after the release of the singles compilation The Singles 1992–2003, which contained one new song, a cover of experimental rock band Talk Talk's "It's My Life". Tony Kanal did several projects with Gwen and other artists. Adrian Young married and had a child; Tom Dumont formed a new band, Invincible Overlord, often plays with Matt Costa's band. Gwen embarked on a sucessful solo career which consisted of two albums - "Love. Angel. Music. Baby." and "The Sweet Escape". The first of these albums contains the single "Hollaback Girl", a song which was inescapable for most of 2005 and hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won her a Billboard Award for first track to reach 1 Million legal downloads ever. The self titled track off "The Sweet Escape" went on to become her most notorious calling card.
With the hiatus officially over in late 2008 No Doubt announced tour plans for 2009, kicking it off in Atlantic City. The tour concluded with four dates in Irvine, CA. In May, 2009, the band was featured as a fictional 80's band, "Snowed Out", on CW Network's "Gossip Girl" The band performed their cover of Adam and the Ants 'Stand and Deliver.'
The group entered the studio in May 2010 to start recording on their sixth studio album: Push and Shove which will be release on September 25, 2012 and its first single will be "Settle Down". Their first music video for the new album will also be for "Settle Down" and it will be directed by Sophie Muller (who previously has done numerous music videos for No Doubt). The whole album has been recorded with producer Mark "Spike" Stent (who worked on their previous album Rock Steady) but they have also collaborated with Major Lazer (now Diplo's solo project). No Doubt previously revealed they are taking influence from ska, 80s new wave and Jamaican reggae music for the new record.